After a surprise absence from the opening day of the San Marino Grand Prix, Kawasaki's John Hopkins insists he will be 'good to go' on Saturday.
Hopkins suffered a displaced intercostal muscle at Brno two weeks ago, and despite the injury healing well over the last week, the Anglo-American accidentally aggravated the injury on Thursday evening, with the accompanying pain resulting in a restless night.
"To be sidelined by something so simple is really disappointing, but while the injury isn't serious it is really painful, especially when you're on the bike," said Hopkins. "I thought I was back to full fitness after resting up since Brno, but then I managed to tweak the same Intercostal muscle during a light training session on Thursday evening, and the pain kept me awake most of the night.
"The injury has responded well to treatment, and is now much improved, but the lack of sleep meant that it was difficult to concentrate fully ahead of this afternoon's practice session. Rather than risk further injury by riding at less than 100 percent, together with the team, I made the decision to sit out this afternoon's practice.
"Tomorrow I'll be good to go, and I hope that the lack of track time today won't stop us picking up where we left off at the last round," he declared.
"[John's] had very little sleep and we felt it would be too much of a risk to let him out on track, particularly as he's still recovering from the recent surgery on his leg injuries," stated Kawasaki competition manager Michael Bartholemy. "It's a difficult decision to make, particularly because he also missed the post-race test last time out, but we hope that tomorrow he will be fit enough to ride."
Team-mate Anthony West did take to the track, but was left frustrated by 17th and last position on the timesheets.
"We came here in good spirits following the last race, but it's been quite a frustrating day for us," said the Australian. "We worked closely with Bridgestone throughout both sessions to find improved confidence in the front-end of my machine, yet we've ended the day in only 17th place. The bike feels very nervous, particularly in the bumpy sections of the circuit, which means I just can't get hard on the brakes and into the turns. Our set-up from Brno just isn't working here so we need to revise our direction to suit this circuit, and hopefully, as we did last time out, we can make a big improvement tomorrow."
"After his impressive race performance last time out in Brno, it's disappointing to see [Anthony] at the bottom of the timesheet once again," said Bartholemy.